Staveley Name Variations

Over time there have been a large number of different spellings of our name Staveley, as in: Stavely, Staffley, Stafely, Stavleigh, Staflea, Stavele, Stavile, Stavelay, Staveleie, Stavelaye and Stavelie are just some and a number of other variations often have an 'e' replacing the first 'a', as in Stefley and an 'n' replacing the 'v' to give Staneley. The reality is that the early recorders, often monks or scribes with a limited education, went simply by the phonetic spelling of a name (as the person supplying the name may have had no reading/writing skills at all), and as such, all the variations from the writers ensued even giving us 'Stabeley' (how many times have you been called that after giving your name over the phone to someone?!). Indeed, numerous spelling variations of our surname by parish clerks and vicars occur right through the centuries in the registers. To make matters worse, the villages of North Stainley, South Stainley and Staveley have, for centuries, been linked to the Staveleys of Yorkshire, and the Stainley and Staveley names appear to have become intertwined, so that Staneley is a common early variant (along with Staueley). This makes early research into our name particularly difficult when searching records.

It's not so much that families chose to have variant spellings of the name Staveley.  Many factors, alone or combined, may help explain how and why the Staveley name evolved through the centuries.  Although the clergy were generally literate, extreme illiteracy often prevailed among the common parishioners well into nineteenth century in Britain.  Horrible handwriting in parish registers, phonetic spellings by the parish curate interpreting thick Yorkshire accents, perhaps compounded the spelling errors recorded in these registers.  Add to that the re-transcription of the registers into "Bishop's Transcripts" and the errors become further enhanced.

To help you with your search for Staveley records, a list of some of the more common Staveley variants is presented below:

Savley Stabley Staueley Stavlea
Slanlay Stafeley Stauelley Stavlee
Slanley Staffley Staulay Stavley
Slaveley Stalphlee Staulee Stavoley
Slavelley Standlay Stavelea Stavolley
Slaveloy Staneley Staveley Stavoloy
Slavley Stanley Stavely Stawley
Stabler Staphlee Staverley Stayfley


As if the mistakes made prior to the computing age weren't enough, in today's fast paced computer literate society, misinterpretations and mistranscriptions of historical records abound!  There is currently a mass surge of feverish transcription of any and all records of potential interest to a genealogist.  Parish records, monumental inscriptions, census records, civil registration indexes, military records, ships passenger lists, and trades directories just to name a few.  As a result, it cannot be stressed enough that if you locate Staveley records in electronic form, the original records MUST be checked before drawing any conclusions about the accuracy of the information provided.  Electronic databases use various algorithms to attempt to provide a user searching through records with any and all possible variations of a surname to compensate for mistakes in transcription.  However, these searching devices are not perfect, and often important records are still missed!

From notes by: Clare Staveley and Peter Staveley


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